The smell of dried sweetgrass filled the room, fragrant as fresh-cut meadow hay, laced with vanilla. We took our places in the circle of chairs, eager to learn the new skill of basket weaving in the Gullah tradition. Or, more correctly, basket sewing, as it is called. We were shown the simple tools of the craft: a pocket knife, worn thin from separating the dark green outer part of the palmetto stalk from it’s yellow center, and cutting it into thin strips; the scissors to cut a point at the end of the strip for ease of sewing; the nail, hammered flat on one end, used to pry a space for the palmetto strip to slip in between the tight coils of sweetgrass to bind them together. We watched, and fumbled, and watched again, until we got the hang of how to hold the tools, and when to add more sweetgrass, and how to tie it off when our basket was done. Four hours later, each of us proudly held up our own, small, sweetgrass basket; a little misshapen, perhaps, not perfect by any means – but a work of art to treasure, because we had created it with our own hands.
Is there anything that gives a greater sense of accomplishment than stepping back and admiring something that you have made yourself? Something that you have toiled over and shaped into reality? No matter what form it takes – and the possibilities are endless – it is in the creative process that I believe we are closest to our Creator God. We are God’s handiwork. In the beginning, God toiled over us and shaped us, and when he was done, he stepped back and proudly declared all that he had made “Good.” A little misshapen perhaps, not perfect by any means, but a work of art to treasure, because he created us with his own hands.
God has created us in his own image. He has placed his creative spark in our hearts. We are never more like God than when we are creating – anything! So, go ahead! Bake that pie! Write that poem! Craft that cabinet! Paint, or sculpt, or knit or wrench, or weave, or stitch, or carve. Let that creative spark within you run free! Make a thing of beauty with your own hands. And when you proudly hold your finished product up, may it give you as much pleasure as God has when he is holding you!
Happy Valentine’s Day! Pastor Barb <><
In the beginning God created… Genesis 1:1